May 20, 2022
Tesla Model 3

There’s a good chance we’ll look back at 2021 as the year Brits start taking electric cars seriously.

Pure electric vehicles accounted for one in nine sales, with more registered in 2021 than in the previous five years combined.

In all, a record-breaking 190,727 new electric vehicles hit the UK’s roads, along with 114,554 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), meaning 18.5% of all new cars registered in 2021 can be plugged in.

In addition, pure electric cars even outsold diesel cars in the UK in 2021. As recently as 2017, diesel car sales accounted for 43.5% of the total new car market – now the diesel share is only 14.2%.

1) Tesla Model 3 – 34,783 registrations

The most affordable model in the Tesla range has made a huge impression since its launch in 2020. Not only is it the most popular new electric vehicle of 2021, it is also sensationally the second biggest car in the UK top 10 behind the Opel Corsa.

Cleverly designed inside and out, this BMW 3 Series format sedan has a range of up to 360 miles and is a pleasure to drive. Fast, smooth and agile, the fastest “Performance” version reaches 100 km/h in just 3.1 seconds!

2) Kia e-Niro – 12,271 registrations


One of the most affordable long-range EVs on the market, the e-Niro has the flexibility of a crossover and can travel up to 450km on a full charge.

Easy to drive, spacious, practical, well equipped and packed with safety features, it also comes with Kia’s generous seven-year warranty and reputation for reliability, making it an impressive eco-friendly everyday vehicle.

3) Volkswagen ID.3 – 11,032 registrations


VW has to be satisfied with the first year of sales of the futuristic ID.3 in the UK. Slightly shorter but wider and taller than the latest Golf, it has a futuristic design and offers plenty of interior space and useful boot space.

Affordable, safe and hassle-free, it’s available with three different battery sizes (with ranges of up to 340 miles) and can be charged from 5 to 80% in just 35 minutes at a 100kW fast charger.

4) Nissan Leaf – 9,052 registrations


The groundbreaking British-built Nissan Leaf is still selling well, despite a rapidly growing number of competitors.

Practical, pleasant to drive and competitively priced. A Leaf takes around 7.5 hours to fully charge overnight with a 7kWh home charger, or just 60 minutes to charge to 80% with a 50kW fast charger. The 62kWh battery version of the flagship has a decent range of up to 239 miles.

5) Audi E-tron – 7,396 registrations

audi e-tron

Audi’s first all-electric SUV boasts excellent build quality, snappy performance (it can sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds), a beautiful interior and a range of up to 252 miles.

Also available as a sleek “Sportback”, the e-tron is an impressive blend of power, practicality, luxury and driving pleasure. If you choose a quattro model, you also get real off-road capability.

6) Hyundai Kona Electric – 7,199 registrations


Hyundai’s boldly styled crossover, refreshed for 2021, is another affordable, long-range (up to 300 miles) EV crossover.

Spacious, safe and refined to drive, it also offers peace of mind as it comes with a five year unlimited mileage warranty and eight year/125,000 mile battery coverage.

7) MINI Electric – 6,615 registrations


If driving fun with a long range is your priority, MINI’s first all-electric vehicle could be just the thing for you. This funky three-door is just as lively as its petrol-powered siblings, fast (0-100 km/h in 7.3 seconds) and offers premium build quality.

It is theoretically possible to drive up to 145 miles on a full charge, but if it needs to go further it can be charged from 0-80% in just 36 minutes via a fast charger (50kW).

8) Renault Zoe – 5,778 registrations

renault zoe

Not long ago the Zoe was Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle, with the cute supermini end of the market all to itself. Now it faces stiff competition, but the good news is that the latest Zoe is better than ever, and it’s holding out with its winning combination of value for money and nimble performance.

There are two sizes of electric motors (different power outputs) that offer a claimed range of up to 245 miles.

Around 90 miles of range can be added in just 30 minutes via a 50kW public charging station.

9) Vauxhall Corsa-e – 5,605 registrations


The Vauxhall Corsa was Britain’s best selling car in 2021. Available with petrol and diesel engines, there’s also an all-electric version (Corsa-e) which is a great little package.

Easy to drive, surprisingly roomy and affordable, it has a range of up to 209 miles. Of course, there’s also instant torque, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.6 seconds.

In addition, it can be charged to 80% (an additional 268 km) in just 30 minutes via a 100 kW fast charger or overnight at home on a wall box.

10) MG ZS EV – 5,380 registrations


Facelifted for 2021, MG’s electric crossover offers excellent value for money. Stylish, easy to drive, well-equipped and with seating for five, it has a claimed range of up to 273 miles and can be charged to 80% in just over an hour at a 50kW public charging station.

Add to that MG’s generous 7-year/80,000-mile warranty and it’s no wonder the ZS EV is becoming a common sight on our roads.

motor journalist

I’m an experienced journalist, digital editor and copywriter now specializing in automobiles. I’m the editor of the Automotive Blog and have worked across media in newspaper, magazine, television, teletext, radio and online for well-known names such as the BBC, GMTV, ITV and MSN. I have produced digital content in the financial sector for Lloyds Bank, Nationwide and the Money Advice Service. I am married with two children and live near Bath in Somerset.

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